Sunday, 31 January 2016

Thursday the 21st: Arsis - Unwelcome

     For this here belated Throwback Thursday, we're only going back a couple of years, but I think you'll be cool with it when your hear the song in question. Any comments about how uncool with it you are can be left below.

     "Unwelcome" isn't just the title track from the 2013 Arsis album, it's also the lead track, an big job for any song. I could go on all day with my thoughts about the importance of track orders and album pacing, particularly regarding opening tracks, but suffice it to say that first impressions are important if you want to make sure some listens to the rest of your record. Arsis made the right call putting "Unwelcome" at the top of the Unwelcome batting order, because it perfectly sets the tone for the deft, melodic technical death metal that follows. Arsis fan or not, I think you'll agree that "Unwelcome" makes a great opening salvo, so have a listen and see what you think.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Wednesday the 20th: Killswitch Engage - Hate By Design

     I know, I know, if we're following the linear rules of conventional temporal mechanics, the new Killswitch single (which came out this week) doesn't make a whole lot of sense for a post from last week. But you know that flouting the laws of space-time is one of the things I'm all about, so happy Wednesday the 20th kids, it's "Hate By Design"!

     Killswitch Engage's latest offering of tight metalcore Incarnate is due out in March, but "Hate By Design" is our first taste, and it's... decent. I don't think it's going to blow you away, but then I was never expecting that. It's a solid Killswitch song, but not an instant classic, and not even as instantly "in my brain" as "In Due Time" was last album cycle. The flip side of all this, however, is that if you dug Killswitch's "return to form" occasioned by the return of Jesse then you're probably going to remain on board for the ride that is "Hate By Design" and looks to be Incarnate. Check it out.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Tuesday the 19th: Omnihility - Psychotic Annnihilation

     Time to pretend it's Tuesday again, but don't worry, I've got a Tech Tuesday post for you that should make it easy to imagine it's only the second day of the workweek. Unless of course it blows your head off first. That's always a problem.

     The latest track from Omnihility, "Psychotic Annihilation" from their forthcoming Dominion of Misery, is one of those tracks that inspires adjectives. 'Ferocious' comes to mind. 'Punishing' does too. 'Relentlessly brutal' would also work, if we're accepting adjectival phrases too. But rather than have me wrack my vocabulary for the perfect descriptor, why don't you just brace yourself, have a listen, and then come up with something on your own. Best one gets a cookie.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Monday the 18th: Orpheus Omega - Practice Makes Pathetic

     In the alternate timeline that is Loud Noises, it's just now Monday the 18th of January, so let's do a Metal Monday post like it's ten days go!

     More specifically, let's do a Melodic Metal Monday post, with a little something slick n' crunchy from Australian (surprise!) melodeath band Orpheus Omega and their latest album Partum Vita Mortem. If you want a quick touchstone for tracks like today's song "Practice Makes Pathetic", the first one that springs to my mind is In Flames, but I've seen a comparison or two to Dark Tranquility that I wouldn't argue with either. But the bottom line is that a listen to these guys will reward with some meaty, decently heavy stuff that's got some catchy melodies and some good production values. If that's your jam, then make Orpheus Omega your jam too.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Sunday the 17th: Protest the Hero - Underbite

     If you're a Protest the Hero fan, chances are you're already familiar with their recent Pacific Myth EP project being recorded and released one track per month over on Bandcamp. Maybe you're even a subscriber already. But if you're not necessarily a Protest fan, you might only have heard about this Pacific Myth thing from me (please, let me hold onto the delusion that I'm somehow your go-to for this kind of thing). And unfortunately, since Pacific Myth is a subscription-based project, I can really only recommend new songs to you when they come out, rather than linking you directly to the goods.

     So today I'm going to be a nice guy. Rather than pointing you at the latest Pacific Myth track (called "Cataract", which you definitely should check out if you get the chance) I'm just going to hit you with a tasty tune from the band's last LP, 2013's Volition. "Underbite" is a characteristically high energy song with a characteristically acerbic and tongue-in-cheek take on rock stardom and the music industry. Would you expect anything less from Rody and the Gang?

Saturday the 16th: Pillars in the Sky - 72 hours remain

     Regular readers will know that I'm a fan of cool instrumental stuff, and they may also have picked up on the fact that, as a solo act myself here at Loud Noises (and in my former life working on The Icarus Project...ask me about it sometime...), I'm always interested to hear a solo artist that can grab me as much as a full band. Pillars in the Sky is exactly the kind of act I like to find out about.

     The brainchild of a Brit named Bowe, Pillars in the Sky combines elements of modern prog, djent, tech, and ambient atmospherics. The kicker, however, especially where Pillars' latest What Became of the Kingdom is concerned, is the inclusion of some glitchy, chip-tuney, video game-inspired goodness. The end result can flow seamlessly from heavy to ethereal and back, but for your introduction to all things Pillars of the Sky, I've chosen something a little more towards the heavier end of things. Surprise!

     Your song for Saturday the 16th is "72 hours remain", and yes, you guessed it, that's a video game reference of a title (spoiler: they all are on What Became of the Kingdom). Gold star for whoever correctly identifies the game first. Oh, and gold stars all around for anyone who jams the song -- you may collect at the end of your nine minutes of awesome.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Friday the 15th: 7 Horns 7 Eyes - Divine Amnesty

     File this one under "Whatever happened to these guys?" Last time I checked in on 7 Horns 7 Eyes on Facebook, back in the summer, it seemed like writing for a new record might be underway. That was the last post from band, which one can only hope means they're too busy doing important stuff like writing and recording to bother with trivialities like social media.

     Let's listen to "Divine Amnesty", the opening track from 2012's solid Throes of Absolution, in that spirit, as an offering to whatever gods govern mixing, mastering, and release dates. Like the rest of Throes, "Divine Amnesty" is a groovy piece of doom-laden death metal with some melodic, shreddy lead work that remains tastefully done throughout. The fact that these guys are a *gasp* Christian metal band (!) that actually rips is a heaping helping of icing on this heavy-ass cake. Bring on the next album already!

Monday, 25 January 2016

Thursday the 14th: Coheed and Cambria - Gravemakers and Gunslingers

     Let's pretend it's actually Thursday for a few minutes, so that we can all imagine it's Throwback Thursday time! I enjoyed last year's The Color Before the Sun, but any Loud Noises reader worth their salt will know that I'm a fan of older Coheed and Cambria, stuff, so let's have some of that for your weekly dose of retro.

     Set your chosen pop culture time travel device to 2007, because we're headed back to Coheed's fourth LP Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV: Volume Two: No World for Tomorrow. The title might seem a little long, and a little silly if you're not verse in the band's Amory Wars mythos, but this record is chock full of prime Coheed power-prog-pop. Your Throwback Thursday song "Gravemakers and Gunslingers" is no exception: it stands well enough on its own as a rocking litte number, nevermind its place in the grand story. If my last post from Abhorrent annoyed your neighbours, this one's got enough bounce that they might just forgive you. Worth a shot, right?

Wednesday the 13th: Abhorrent - The Elegance of Asymmetry

     Let's keep yesterday's technical death metal train rolling, shall we? It's not Tech Tuesday any more, but then again it isn't really Wednesday anymore either, so who cares? Jam some Abhorrent already.

     If you don't know Abhorrent, you should, and chances are you know at least one of its members -- the regular lineup alone includes members or former members of The Faceless, Absvrdist, and Spawn of Possession, to say nothing of the guests that crop up on the band's latest Intransigence. Of course, none of that pedigree counts if the beats aren't blasting. Now, I could reassure you, but wouldn't things just be better for all of us if you just checked out "The Elegance of Asymmetry" for yourself? The answer is yes. Yes it would. So crank it, and annoy the non-metal fans in your life.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Tuesday the 12th: Atlantis Chronicles - Within the Massive Stream

     Strap on your air hose and make sure your diving bell is in good working condition, because your Tech Tuesday post for the 12th is going to take us under the sea for the latest from the French death metallers in Atlantis Chronicles.

     The sophomore nautical-themed Atlantis Chronicles LP, Barton's Odyssey, is due out in March, but we're getting our second taste of what's in store in the form of "Within the Massive Stream", a suitably massive slab of speedy melodic death metal. If I had to pick a comparison, I might say the musicianship of The Faceless meets the melodic sensibility and recent lyrical themes of The Ocean, but I think you should just check this one out for yourself. If my description sounds good to you, so much the better. And if it doesn't, well, don't let my lazy imagination hold you back. Give "Within the Massive Stream" a listen and leave a comment with your own succinct description. I dare you.

Monday the 11th: Mandroid Echostar - Haunted Vows

     How has Mandroid Echostar's debut LP Coral Throne been treating you? I've been digging it, but I haven't been able to spend enough time with it yet to pick a favourite, which is usually how I decide what gets to be a Song of the Day. So in the interest of giving you a Mandroid Monday for this particular much-belated post, let's revisit the band's 2013 sophomore EP Citadels, shall we?

     Specifically, let's check out "Haunted Vows" for a slice of slick grooves, syrupy leads, and a mid-song instrumental break that's spearheaded by a nice fat bass lick that's simple yet hypnotic. When everybody comes back together on that lick for the end of the song, it's that much bigger for it. Mandroid, if any of you happen to catch this post, come on back to Kingston already, will you? I'll buy you a beer for an LP well done.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Sunday the 10th: Pronostic - Becik

     To avoid falling a full two weeks behind, I say we start ripping through some shit and forge a path back to greatness. Agreed? Good. Let's start things right with some with some old school flavour courtesy of yet another solid metal band from the most distinct and unique culture in Canada (ten points to whoever can name the source of that little socio-political gem).

     Montreal metal band Pronostic have just put out a new video for the track "Becik" from their latest album An Atomic Decision, and while the video isn't necessarily the most memorable (even if it is pretty cincematic) the song itself slays. Fleet-fingered riffs blend old school feel with new school musicianship and sheer speed. Fans of melodic death metal need to get Pronostic on their radars, pronto. Check out "Becik" and see what I'm talking about.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Saturday the 9th: Circa Survive - Strange Terrain

     The date at the top? That's just so we all know how far back we're getting, and so that I'll have that constant, reminding kick in the ass to try and motivate me. Anyways: Saturday the 9th!

     I'm more of a fan of the proggier madness of vocalist Anthony Green's kinda-sorta-sideproject The Sound of Animals Fighting, but since I'm a sucker for singers who get anywhere near falsetto I dig everything Green does, including his main gig Circa Survive. For this super belated Saturday post, you're getting the opening track "Strange Terrain" from Circa Survive's 2010 record Blue Sky Noise. As with much of Circa's catalogue, the main draws here are the energy level and the catchy singability. The fact that there's more depth than just a rocking good time is icing on the cake. Check it out.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Last Friday: Hands of Despair - Sleeper

     So I seem to have halted the backward slide. Now it's time to push back, starting with something nice and meaty for a couple of Fridays ago. And the best part? These guys are Canadian! Tres bien!

     It seems like la Belle Province, and Montreal in particular, are like Canada's Australia, in that there's loads of good shit coming out of Quebec just waiting to be discovered. Like Hands of Despair, a solo project turned full band that's got a new album Bereft coming out in just a few weeks. To demonstrate why you should be excited about this record, I've decided to go with the sample song they've got over on their Bandcamp page, a whopper entitled "Sleeper". Beautifully blackened and crusty, with enough melodic sense -- and enough heavy riffing -- to call to mind older Opeth, and that can never be a bad thing. Don't find yourself 'bereft' of something to listen to come February 9th; check out Hands of Despair.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Last Thursday: Funeral for a Friend - Bullet Theory

     Another Thursday means another Throwback, and this time around I've decided to regale you with another cut from classic Funeral for a Friend album Casually Dressed and Deep in Conversation.

     "Bullet Theory" is a sing-alongable bit of melodic post-hardcore built around big hooky choruses and relatively sparse verses. As with much of Funeral for a Friend's catalogue, there's just enough heavy to the riffage that I can still listen to this one with genuine appreciation rather than just nostalgic wistfulness. Take a break from your regular brutality with something that should go down nice and smooth. Then get back to crushing it, OK?

Last Wednesday: White Stag - Mothouse

     Time for the broadest of my alliterative posts: the Weird Wednesday. I use this one as a catch-all for anything that's a little out there, and your mucho belated Wednesday post today certainly has a little bit of "out there" to it. Feast your ears upon Knoxville four-piece White Stag.

     More specifically, have a go at closing track "Mothouse" from White Stag's recently-released EP Eos Crux. The EP's a varied product of diverse influences, with moments of black metal, drone, and jazzy post-metal and -rock. The song is a ten-minute microcosm of that variety, with stark beauty set beside grimy, crusty blackness. It's a perfect Weird Wednesday jam, and well-suited to the grey weather we've been having here lately. Enjoy.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Last Tuesday: Textures - Illuminate the Trail

     Another reach into my alliterative bag of tricks for a Tuesday post, and this time I've pulled out the latest piece of somewhat djenty prog from Dutch band Textures.

     "Illuminate the Trail", from the upcoming Textures albim Phenotype that's dropping in February, is a beast of a track. I think my qualified "somewhat djenty" above is warranted: "Illuminate the Trail" is chock full of meaty riffing, groovy and proggy in all the right places, and djent detractors should find little to complain about. I've only ever been marginally into Textures up to now, but "Illuminate the Trail" makes me think I should be looking into Phenotype when it comes out next month. How about you?

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Last Monday: Metallica - The Thing That Should Not Be

     Time for another Metallica Monday for your much belated post not for yesterday (I'm writing this on Tuesday, January 12th, spoiler alert!) but a week ago yesterday. This Monday we're going to go predictably classic and take a cut from arguably the best Metallica record, Master of Puppets.

     "The Thing That Should Not Be" is one of several Metallica songs to take inspiration from Lovecraft and the Cthulu mythos, with "Thing" having its origins with those fish-faced fuckers from Innsmouth. Musically, it's got that great big stompy main riff running roughshod throughout the track, with a little Hammett leadwork in there towards the end, of course. There's faster stuff on Puppets, but this one's got great atmosphere, and its place on the album is perfect, slowing things down a little without sacrificing a thing in terms of heaviness. Put this one on and pledge your devotion to the ancient ones.

Last Sunday: Finger Eleven - Paralyzer

     The loss of a legend is always a bit of a downer, so let's pick things up with a Sunday Funday post that, upon reflection, I think the Disco King might well have approved of.

     When Finger Eleven's 2007 record Them vs. You vs. Me came out, I wasn't the hugest fan of the bouncy first single "Paralyzer", even if I can relate to the lines about feeling out of place in dance clubs. But as I get older, maybe a little more open-minded, this one grows on me, and it's another one of those songs that never gets skipped on the radio, and indeed often gets a little more volume if I happen to hear it come on. David Bowie would of course insist that we put on our red shoes and dance our blues, so I say start with "Paralyzer" for dance music and go from there.

Last Saturday: David Bowie - Bring Me the Disco King

     They say that bad news comes in threes, so hopefully the music world is done losing talent for a while now. First Scott, then Lemmy, and now David; Ziggy has returned to the stardust whence he came. I'm sure by now you've all heard about the passing of David Bowie, so now it's my turn to pay a little Loud Noises tribute.

     All the usual suspects from Bowie's career have likely been trotted out ad nauseum over the last 24 hours or so (and there are a lot of great songs to revisit) so I'm going with a haunting version of a personal favourite of mine. The track in question is "Bring Me the Disco King", originally recorded in the 90s but only finally released on 2003's Reality, but I'm going to direct your attention to the Danny Lohney remix that appears on the soundtrack to the first Underworld movie.

     For one thing, David has figurative help from, among others, Maynard James Keenan on the Underworld version of "Disco King". But Bowie's tired melancholy is centre stage, especially at moments when the song is stark and stripped back. I used the word "haunting" above, and I'll use it again here, because this is a hauntingly beautiful version of a lesser-known Bowie song. Check it out, and raise a glass to the thin white duke.

Monday, 11 January 2016

New Year's Day: U2 - New Year's Day

     File this one under "How Have I Not Done this for New Year's Before?" Maybe it's because I've never been a huge fan of the band (and especially not its frontman), or maybe it's because I try and maintain the image that this is a more metal-inclined blog (like you still believe that lie), but for whatever reason I've never started a new year here at Loud Noises with this little number from U2.

     "New Year's Day" was the lead single from 1983's War, and it's definitely one of their best known songs. Like I said, I'm not much of a U2 fan, especially when it comes to newer U2, but this one always get left on when it comes on the radio. Ring in the new year a week and a half too late with this classic cut from an important-if-overrated band.

Friday, 8 January 2016

New Year's Eve: Thursday - Jet Black New Year

     This one's got all kinds of layers going on. See, it's a post for New Year's Eve, and the song's at least somewhat New Year's themed. And New Year's Eve fell on a Thursday in 2015, and this is a really cool song from seminal post-hardcore act Thursday. It's like an onion, right?

     Or maybe not. Either way, even if you think the title is a little too emo, Thursday's "Jet Black New Year", from the 2002 Five Stories Falling EP, is a great song and one of my favourite Thursday tracks. The music has a bit of an edge that lots of Thursday lacks, even if the lyrics are standard Geoff Rickly (which is to say decent, but maybe, like I said, too emo for tr00 metalheads). So since I'm so late to the literal party with this one, keep it in your back pocket for next New Year's.

Last Wednesday: Every Time I Die - Goddamn Kids These Days

     Full disclosure: I'm 31 -- yes, only 31 -- but 2015 was a year in which me and many of the people I know started to feel old in one way or another. First world problems, right? Anyways, as bad as that was, I have a feeling 2016 is going to bring more things that make me feel like a curmudgeonly old man, which means that the sentiment expressed by the title of your song for last Wednesday speaks to that fist-shaking part of me.

     My favourite Every Time I Die album is 2009's New Junk Aesthetic, and one of the bonus tracks from the deluxe version of that record is the appropriately titled "Goddamn Kids These Days". Play it loud enough and you can practically hear me telling some whippersnappers to get off my fucking lawn. Sigh.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Last Tuesday: Tool - Third Eye

     Remember when I said that The Black Dahlia Murder's "Hellion" would allow you to bank some precious seconds for the next time I presented you with something meaty? Yeah, so the "next time" actually came sooner than I thought.

     When I don't necessarily have a Tech Tuesday in the chamber, I dig into my alliterative bag of tricks for the next best thing. This week, luck you, that happens to be a Tool Tuesday post. Show of hands, who thinks we'll actually see a new Tool record in 2016? Anybody? While we all hold our breath for that one (or don't...) let's revisit a great track from Tool's back catalogue.

     My choice for this Tool Tuesday? Aenima closing track and close-to-fourteen-minute monster "Third Eye", mostly because of the intensity of its builds and releases, its ebbs and flows, y'knows. The drums that initially resolve out of the noise gradually pull you into the beat, and the layers stack up so seamlessly that if you're not heavily emotionally invested in this song by the time Maynard's distorted screams kick in just shy of minute four, well, you may have problems beyond what I can help you solve. This is about as epic as Tool comes, so bask (or languish) in the knowledge that this one likely won't be topped.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Last Monday: The Black Dahlia Murder - Hellion

     Normally, if I make an unusual demand on your time, it's to request ten minutes or more for some sprawling epic. This Metal Monday post for last week is an apology of sorts.

     "Hellion" is one of the bonus tracks from 2015's Abysmal by The Black Dahlia Murder, and at around a minute in length it couldn't be any more fast and furious. Sure, it's a bit blink and you'll miss it" if you're not paying attention, but the flip side of this coin of brevity is that you can hit repeat a couple of times and still not have spent all day rocking out. Those are seconds you can save for the next time I come up with something epic, so go hard for a measly sixty of them with "Hellion" ASAP.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Last Sunday: Caligula's Horse - Rust

     Catching up continues here at Loud Noises with a Sunday song (last Sunday, that is) from one of the many, many great bands currently coming up from down under. Caligula's Horse might be one of the most well known Aussie prog acts making international waves right now, and they're certainly one of the best, so come take a ride with me.

     I was given a copy of the latest Caligula's Horse record Bloom for Christmas, and after spending some quality time with it over the last week or so I can recommend it highly to any fan of groovy, progressive stuff. Sure, there's a moment or two (including a riff in your last Sunday song) that one could derisively label "djenty", if one were so inclined, but on the whole Bloom is just too diverse to pin down like that. There's some really catchy hooks, some great grooves, some very tasteful lead guitar work -- and of course, Jim Grey's powerful vocals.

     I've featured a song from Bloom before, but this time around we're going full heavy with the acerbic "Rust". Call that main groove djenty if you must, but I defy you to not enjoy it all the same.

(Sorry, no link this time, but Bloom worth a download/stream/purchase, so pull the trigger and then get rusty!)

Boxing Day: I the Mighty - Psychomachia

     A Boxing Day post means back to your regularly scheduled programming here at Loud Noises, as far as that goes, starting with an energetic post-hardcore number that would be right at home on my list of stuff that's "radio friendly but actually good".

     I've written in praise of I the Mighty and their 2015 record Connector before, but it's been a while, and in the absence of newer music from these guys I say it's time to revisit the Connector well in search of something melodic and rocking.  Connector's fourth track "Psychomachia" fits that bill nicely, with energy, melody, and just a hint of a metallic, aggressive kind of edge. Connector has all kinds of songs like this, so I the Mighty's follow-up, whenever that materializes, should be something to keep an eye on.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Christmas Day: Christopher Lee - Little Drummer Boy

     My much belated holiday catch-up continues here at Loud Noises, this time around with your Christmas Day song. In what's becoming something of a Loud Noises Christmas tradition, I'm once again reminding you this year that the now-late, great Sir Christopher Lee, star of stage and screen for decades, also liked to dabble in heavy metal vocal work. More importantly, as far as we're concerned right now, Lee turned those vocal attentions towards the spreading of ghoulish good cheer on more than one occasion.

     Case in point: Christopher Lee's Christmas single from a few year's back, and specifically his version of "Little Drummer Boy". This one's never been a particular Christmas favourite of mine, but Lee's version has enough grand bombast and old school metal swagger to put a smile on even the grinchiest old metalhead. Merry (belated) Christmas, ya' filthy animals.

(Alas, the link above is to a sampler from the 2012 Christmas single, you want the whole thing you've got to buy it, freeloader!)

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Christmas Eve: Bing Crosby - White Christmas

     Happy New Year everybody! I may not have bee around much over the past week or so, but that doesn't mean I'm gone for good. I hope your holidays have been restful, because it's time to get back to the wonderful world of metal.

     Well... not quite. Since I'm far enough behind that I still need to do stuff for Christmas, I'll favour you with some holiday trivia that I somehow only learned about this year. Your much belated Christmas Eve song is Bing Crosby's classic rendition of Irving Berlin's classic "White Christmas", which happens to be the best-selling single of all time. Think about that for a second. Any one-hit wonder you think has been undeseveredly huge? Bing's topped it. Any grating pop song that's ever earwormed its way into your skull? Bing's got it beat. Literally every metal song ever? Bing by a landslide. I've never been a fan of White Christmas the movie, but "White Christmas" the song definitely comes out here every year.